(May 1, 2017 - BRACEY, Va.)
Raymond Jones III of Statesville, North Carolina, took top honors at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on Lake Gaston Saturday after bringing a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 11 ounces to the scale. For his win, Jones pocketed $7,473.
“The Piedmont Division is really strong so I’m very fortunate to come out with a win,” said Jones, who earned his first career-victory in BFL competition. “In practice I was able to find some water that wasn’t clear, but wasn’t completely muddied up either. It was mid-lake, and that’s where I ended up spending my day."
Jones said he lost three solid bass in the morning, but was able to grind out a limit by 10 a.m.
“I had a milk run that we followed until lunchtime,” said Jones. “We’d catch them in that mid-lake stained water and then leave it alone to replenish. I had plenty of bites the rest of the day, but only caught eight keepers.”
Jones said he used a homemade spinnerbait and two soft-plastics to catch his fish.
“The spinnerbait was the reaction bait,” said Jones. “I covered a lot of water with it, and then worked them over with the soft-plastics. It was a one-two punch with the soft-plastics. Sometimes I had to rotate body-style, and their colors, to trigger bites.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Raymond Jones III, Statesville, N.C., five bass, 16-11, $5,473 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: James Blankenship, Siler City, N.C., five bass, 16-10, $2,936
3rd: Jeffrey Thomas, Broadway, N.C., five bass, 16-8, $1,756
4th: Jerry Davis, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 15-5, $1,230
5th: Ryan Harrell, Roanoke Rapids, N.C., five bass, 15-0, $1,155
6th: Burley Langford, South Chesterfield, Va., five bass, 14-12, $967
7th: Chris Daves, Spring Grove, Va., five bass, 14-4, $879
8th: Ryan Powroznik, Prince George, Va., five bass, 14-3, $791
9th: Cavin Young, Prince George, Va., five bass, 14-2, $703
10th: Josh Wagy, Dewitt, Va., five bass, 13-15, $584
10th: Kenny Beale Jr., Blairs, Va., five bass, 13-15, $584
George Lambeth of Thomasville, North Carolina, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $830.
Michael Davis of New London, North Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and $2,836 Saturday after bringing a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 7 ounces to the weigh-in stage.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Michael Davis, New London, N.C., five bass, 16-7, $2,836
2nd: David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 13-13, $1,318
3rd: Donald Talbard, Ringgold, Va., four bass, 9-12, $879
4th: Arthur Clark, Cary, N.C., three bass, 9-2, $665
5th: Hank Cooke, Emporia, Va., three bass, 9-1, $527
6th: Stephen Kocell, Waxhaw, N.C., five bass, 8-14, $483
7th: Brian Transon, Sherrills Ford, N.C., four bass, 8-9, $439
8th: Lewis Brown, Asheboro, N.C., three bass, 8-7, $395
9th: Larry Freeman Jr., La Crosse, Va., three bass, 7-10, $352
10th: Chris Teague, Lincolnton, N.C., three bass, 7-8, $308
Hubert Roman of Lexington, North Carolina, caught the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $415.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the James River in Williamsburg, Virginia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.